Suspect shot by SFPD was wanted for mom's death


San Francisco police explained why they had to kill a murder suspect on Wednesday night, after a three-hour standoff.

The man who held police at bay and fired all those shots was wanted for the murder of his own mother. Diane Hughes, 66, was bludgeoned to death in her home in Rohnert Park Tuesday night. Her son, Dennis Hughes, 41, was tracked down at his girlfriend's apartment in San Francisco last night.

The girlfriend's apartment is still an active crime scene with investigators there, trying to gather evidence. The story is finally being pieced together behind the standoff that happened at Post Street and Leavenworth.

After family members asked police to check on Hughes, that's when Rohnert Park police found her body in her home on Tuesday. She had been beaten to death. Family members told investigators her son Dennis lived with her and was missing. They also said his girlfriend lived in an apartment building in San Francisco. Detectives knocked on her door at about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"Mary, the girlfriend, came to the front door. She was ashen, she seemed very nervous and anxious," said Rohnert Park police Chief Brian Masterson.

The Rohnert Park detectives, while still outside the apartment unit, began talking to Dennis who was hiding inside.

"At some point during the conversation, some rounds were fired we believe from Dennis through the wall," said Masterson.

The detectives got Mary out of the way and called San Francisco police for backup. Monica Kelly lives in the apartment building.

"We were sitting in the apartment and all of a sudden you heard a gunshot and that's when we heard all the SWAT team and cops all running in our apartment building," said Kelly.

San Francisco homicide Lt. Hector Sainez tells us what happened next.

"The suspect continued to shoot out of the apartment through the ceiling, the floor, the walls and two adjacent apartments, hallways and staircases," said Sainez.

Police say Hughes had two firearms with him, a .9mm pistol and a Derringer. Meantime, police began evacuating residents from the apartments and adjacent buildings as well. They say he may have planned for a long standoff.

"The active shooter barricaded himself within the apartment and fortified his position with furniture," said Sainez.

"About an hour in, the suspect lit one of the bedrooms afire, a good fire, a growing fire," said San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.

In light of the fire and the growing danger to the public, police officials made the decision to shoot Dennis.

"A SFPD sharp shooter fired a shot and eliminated the threat to public safety," said Sainez.

The sharpshooter fired from a rooftop on a neighboring building, right into a window, hitting Dennis in the head.

Police say Dennis was apparently having some kind of issue with his mother. Family members told police that she was trying to get him to move out of the house.

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